Grade 7 – United States History I

I: New York State Geography

Study the basics of geography and how it affected the growth of New York throughout history. Analyze maps and data to see how your hometown may have been affected.

II: Native Americans

These lessons will focus on the Native American cultures of New York and the impact of European exploration. Compare and contrast the differences between many cultures in this year's first DBQ.

III: Explorers

European explorers navigated the seas looking for new trade routes. Explore how they traveled and ultimately impacted the world (pun intended!)

IV: Colonization

The Thirteen Original Colonies! Shout 'em! Scout 'em! Tell all about 'em! One by one until we've given a day to every one that's in the U.S.A. (remix)

V: Colonial Life

Learn what life was like in the colonies for men, women, and children. Explore the differences between social classes, regions, and industries.

VI: Road to War

Find out what caused so much tension between the English colonies and their mother country and led many colonists to declare their independence.

VII: Revolutionary War

From the shot heard "around the world" to the surrender at Yorktown, follow the colonists on their road to forming a new nation.

VIII: Forming a Nation

Take a look at how the United States government began to form itself. Examine the struggles and complications of the founding fathers.

IX: Westward Expansion

How did the United States expand from the Thirteen Original Colonies? Find out here as Manifest Destiny sweeps through the nation.

Slavery in America

Discern fact vs. fiction about American slavery in the North and South in the years leading up to the Civil War.

The American Civil War

Learn more about the war that has claimed the most US citizens lives in history.

SYLLABUS (Click here to download)

Mr. Shinski
Class website:
7th Grade American History

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”
-Robert Kennedy

Welcome to junior high! Life may be a little different in school now and your path to your future has hit overdrive. This year in class we will be studying the settling of North America all the way up to the end of the Civil War. In the years studied we will trace the development of the United States politically, socially, physically, and even emotionally to try and relive the moments that have defined the country. Our goal is to go well beyond the facts and dig deeper! We will be following the NYS Social Studies Standards, Common Core Standards (ELA), and the NYS Common Core ELA Shifts.

Target Skills to Develop:
Writing – Expository writing, creating claims, justifying statements with factual evidence from texts.
Reading – Critical analysis, text coding and annotating.
Social studies literacy elements – Maps, tables, charts, graphs, diagrams
Character – The mental and moral qualities of an individual. Tolerance and empathy will be developed through out study of human history including tragedies and great acts of kinds and sacrifice.

Methods of Instruction:
Throughout this year we will be exploring social studies through many forms. Social studies is a multi-media experience and I intend to utilize a vast array of literature, video, and audio on multiple platforms including but not limited to online tools, SMART lessons, and good old fashioned books! I do my best to keep the class entertaining and lively and hope you will all be active participants in the classroom! Collaboration is key!

Key Classroom Policies:
1) Be respectful of everyone in the classroom (peers, aides, substitutes, guests, administrators, myself, and yourself as well)
2) Come prepared.
3) Go to the restroom between periods. You may sign out but if data shows you’re leaving “often” I will be forced to investigate the issue further.
4) Don’t cheat! It’s just not worth it. If you’re honestly struggling, let me know, we will get through it together!

Attendance and Make Up Work:
Students that are absent should do their best to contact me using the class website, email, or phone (call the school!) in effort to find out what assignments they are missing and where they can find the course materials. To begin the year, overdue work will be accepted with no penalties until the fifth late assignment is turned in. After the fifth assignment, overdue work will receive point deductions and ultimately result in phone calls home. This policy is under my discretion and extenuating circumstances are considered as they occur. While homework and content may be completed outside of class I believe the majority of learning comes from in class participation and group activities.
-Chronic absenteeism will be reflected by the school’s policy

Course Requirements:
The grading system used will follow the same schedule as noted in your student handbook as determined by the district.
The class will be graded on a 0-100 scale and assignments are weighted as shown below:
Exams: 25%
Papers: 20%
Projects: 15%
Homework: 20%
Notebook Checks: 10%
Participation*: 10%
*Participation is shown by completing bell ringers, exit slips, and participating in discussions.

Academic Integrity:
Any plagiarism and/or academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance to the school handbook.
Please see me if you have any questions about academic dishonesty including plagiarism.

Course Resources:
Several supplemental resources for students can be found on the class website,, to help improve literacy skills and organizational skills.

Required and Recommended Materials:
-Bound Composition Book (Ex. marble style Mead)
-2” binder, D-Ring
-Binder dividers with labels
-Loose leaf paper (college or wide ruled)
-Black/Blue pens
-Pencils (#2 and colored)
-2 Pocket folder

Notebook Checks:
Each student is responsible for maintaining a notebook in class. Every day there will be a short set of notes to copy – in a way it’s like creating a miniature and condensed notebook. Not only does it begin to develop note-taking skills, this will also serve as a great quick reference guide for studying throughout the year. Everyone is free to doodle related drawing, tape relevant images, or write additional notes in their books. Just remember, I WILL BE CHECKING THESE! It’s a “free” 10 points!